I’ve enjoyed many of Courtney Sanford’s articles on the Classical Conversations Writers Circle, like Challenge: The Icing on the Cake (How to Manage Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge at the Same Time) and The Art of Going to the Art Museum. I’m excited to share with you here today an article from Courtney as part of our ongoing article swap. Enjoy!
As an Essentials tutor, mothers often ask me, “Why do we have to teach so much grammar?” Many of us graduated from college without being able to define “object complement,” so why would we expect our fourth graders to do so?
First and foremost, we are preparing our children to read and understand complicated literature like the Declaration of Independence, Shakespeare’s plays, and the many forms of poetry.Without an understanding of grammar, it can be difficult to pick out the subject and verb and find the main idea of a long or unusual sentence. The American founding documents were written during a time when grammar was taught just as we teach it in Essentials, and most Americans could comfortably read and understand those important papers. However, today, we find that most people cannot accurately summarize the Preamble to the United States Constitution. If we cannot understand our Constitution, how can we defend our liberties? If we cannot understand the depth of pathos and heroism in the